Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Questions questions

And so the last days of March are upon us. A quarter of the year completed in a blink of an eye. It may not sound alarming or surprising to some but for a jobbing writer, it’s a scary reminder of just how fast time can go that can yield as little or as much success that fate will allow.

BBC Four had an interesting series about Time recently with string theory pioneer Michio Kaku. I only caught snippets of the series because it clashed with something else (Battlestar Galactica probably) but Mr Kaku had an interesting theory as to why ‘time goes so fast’.

It’s because of our daily routine. When we were younger, our childhood seemed endless and time ever-expansive because all our experiences were ‘new’, and so our brain had no compartment to qualify the passage of existence. But as we grow older and settle into our adult routine lives, our brains are able to identify and file our daily experiences into common occurrence, hence days, months and years being gobbled up by grand master Time.

All of this is an existential and grand way of saying: what have I achieved since the heady euphoria of New Year? It’s easy to slip into a routine that may or may not be conducive to a successful screenwriting year. Three months into 2006, it’s time to ask some questions. We all know the answers:

Has a new script been started?
If not, why not?
Has a script been finished?
If not, why not?
Has there been writing every day?
If not, why not?
Has there been a focused effort to research and brainstorm new ideas?
Have any new contacts been made?
Have any courses been attended?
Is there any that could actually be useful?
Has any money been made from writing?
Has any money been made at all?
Is it time to give up?
Is it time to increase the effort?
Is it all a deluded waste of time?
Is there a desire to write a story that has emotional meaning?
Is there enough knowledge, experience and insight into life to support this emotional meaning?
Or is there just a desire to write popcorn films (emotional and popcorn movies not being mutually exclusive of course)?
Has more progress been made since this time last year?
Does the writing show any talent and promise?
Then, what's next?


Lucy said...

I disagree. My childhood went superfast. But then, I've always maintained I've been here before! ; )

Danny Stack said...

I would say, retrospectively, childhood went very quickly, but at the time I remember it taking aaages to get to 18. Of course, now I want to slow things down...

Lucy said...

Nah, I meant it seemed to go superfast at the time I actually WAS a child. But then, my parents said I always was a trifle odd. I liked nothing better than to write stories about lolly stick animals and mud people I made at the bottom of the garden. Seriously.

And not surprised you want to slow things down Danny - you looked ANCIENT in your pic in the Writers' Guild Mag a few months' back.... I am of course joking. MWAH!

Tim Clague said...

The answer therefore is to increase our new experience input. Do something new when you can.

Even if its something like tying your laces!

Dom Carver said...

When I met my friend Arne at Bournemouth Uni he told me I had led a quiet life and that I should be open to new experiences.

I hate heights so I climbed this...

...when I visited him. Looking over a cliff at a 2000ft sheer drop to the fjord below might not stop time but it nearly stooped my heart. But it's funny... time HAS slowed for me since then. The five years since have seemed to drag by as I've added new experiences to my already growing list. So hopefully it'll slow down even more when I dive into a few more new experiences this summer; like getting married, scuba diving and game fishing on my honeymoon in the Maldives. I hate flying so I bet the 10 hour flight is really going to drag ;-) as long as it doesn't crash.

Time for me only seems to fly by while I'm sat in front of the computer... so I make the most of it. So should everyone.

Paul Campbell said...

nearly there
cos I'm a lazy bastard
not yet
of course
hope so
that too
I said yes, damn you!

Lee said...


In Adventures of a Surburban Boy, John Boorman recalls Borges' story, Funes the Memorious, which:

tells of a man who has absolute and total recall. He finds it insupportable. Each morning he must commit to memory the sky, each formation of clouds, everything he looks at is completely new. The vividness of a child’s vision, seeing things new, gives way in the adult to the ability to generalise - not specific clouds but a cloudy sky, not a hundred faces but a crowd. Thus the real world becomes less real and more abstract. As we get older the generalisations get broader, a week passes, a year passes, marked only by a vacation, a death, a journey.

Kaku's comment reminded me of that. Thought I'd share it.

Kaku's Hyperspace is a magnificent book, by the way. Come to that, Boorman's memoirs aren't that bad either. And that Borges is always worth a read.

As for your questions, I am slightly red-faced, but not totally ashamed. And that's all I'm saying.

James Moran said...

I'm totally ashamed.

Except about the popcorn bit, I'm all about the popcorn movies. Not the actual popcorn, it tastes like polystyrene and smells like old socks.

Lee said...

Some of my best friends are made of polystyrene and old socks. I line them up along the top of the radiator and we all play rummy in the evenings.

Grubber said...


Since you understandbly blocked comments in the next post, I thought I would be cheeky and post here.

I just wanted to say if people are being negative, they can step up in the comments and call bs, and give their view, start a blog and "tell it as it is".

I only know Danny through reading his blog, but he certainly seems knowledgable, conscientious and an extremely decent bloke. I can't imagine he would be upset in the slightest if someone corrected him, that is, IF he is wrong in the first place.

As always Danny, thank you for your blog, you don't deserve crap like that.

Anonymous said...

Yep Danny. I enjoy the blog even though I'm far away. Maybe you could include the hate mail in the blog - it might deter them.